Category Archives: Weather

The Worst US Winter Storms

The Worst US Winter Storms

The Great Blizzard of 1888 (the Great White Hurricane)
March 11 – 14, 1888
Eastern United States

Snowfall of 40 to 50 inches was recorded over New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut as sustained winds created drifts as much as 50 feet tall. Total deaths are thought to have exceeded 400. Most of the cities on the eastern seaboard were shut down for days, if not weeks.

The Storm of the Century
March 11 – 15, 1993
Eastern United States

This massive cyclonic storm had arms that at one point reached from Canada to Central America. More than 300 were killed.

Alabama and Georgia were hit by as much as six inches of snow. Areas further south received up to 16 inches of rain. Tornadoes and thunderstorms broke out all over the South.

In the northeast, record low temperatures were accompanied by large amounts of snow; some affected areas received as much as 3.5 feet, while drifts piled as high as 35 feet. Storm surges as high as twelve feet were recorded.

The Great Appalachian Storm of 1950
Eastern United States
November 24 – 30, 1950

Heavy winds, rain and blizzard conditions followed an extratropical cyclone as it moved through the Eastern United States. Deaths totaled 353, and US insurance companies ended up paying more for damages than for any previous storm. Record cold was recorded in Florida (24 degrees F), Georgia (3 degrees F), Kentucky (-2 degrees F) among others.

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 (The Big Blow)
Nov 7 – 10, 1913
Midwestern US and Ontario Canada

Also known as the Freshwater Fury and the White Hurricane, the Big Blow may have been the worst US winter storm on record. It killed more than 250, primarily from ships that were sink. Five of the twelve ships downed by the storm were never found.

Caused by the convergence of two storm fronts over the Great Lakes’ relatively warm waters, the storm generated 60-90 mph winds that lasted as long as 16 hours. Wind driven waves rose to 35 feet and whiteouts covered the region. The cyclonic system, with its counterclockwise winds, was, in fact, a hurricane.

The storm was of the same type—a November gale—that famously sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.

The Schoolhouse Blizzard (aka The Schoolchildren’s or Children’s Blizzard)
January 12, 1888
Great Plains States

This blizzard gets its name from the many schoolchildren who died when trapped in one room school houses. More than 230 are said to have died.

The tragedy of this storm was created by its suddenness, and by the warm conditions that immediately preceded it. Lulled into complacency by a balmy day, people ventured from their houses to do chores and head to town. Many were improperly dressed. Then, an arctic front crashed into moisture laden air from the Gulf of Mexico, bringing sudden drops of temperature to as low as -40 F, as well as large amounts of snow.

This was the first of two major blizzards in 1888.

Armistice Day Blizzard
Midwestern United States
November 11 – 12, 1940

The Armistice Day Blizzard was an early storm that encompassed Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Snowfall of up to 27 inches were combined with winds of 80 miles per hour, snow drifts of twenty feet and a fifty degree drop in temperature. The Blizzard surprised many hunters who were out for the beginning of duck season and had not prepared for such a storm. In Minnesota, twenty five hunters are said to have died. In all, 154 died in the storm, including 66 sailors on Lake Michigan.

The Knickerbocker Storm
January 27 – 28, 1922
Upper South and Mid Atlantic States

This storm was named for the collapse of the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C., which killed 98 and injured 133. A storm cyclone which dropped as much as three feet of snow in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Knickerbocker affected 22,400 square miles of northeastern United States.

7. The Blizzards of 2010
February 5-6; February 9-10, 2010
Mid Atlantic States, Northeast

Affecting the entire eastern seaboard, these storms dumped as much as 40 inches each on the eastern United States.

Blizzard of 1999
Midwestern United States
January 2 – 4, 1999

With 22 inches of snow in Chicago, the Blizzard of 1999 was rated at the time by the National Weather Service as the second worse to hit the Midwest in the 20th Century. Temperature as low as -20 degrees fahrenheit were recorded. Storm related deaths totaled 73 persons.

The Great Blizzard of 1899
February 11 – 14, 1899
Continental United States

From Georgia to Maine, temperatures dropped to record temperatures. Tallahassee reached -2 F; Minden, Louisiana, -16 F; Camp Logan, Montana, -61F; Washignton, D.C., -15 F. Snowfall began in Florida and moved rapidly north. Washington, D.C. recorded 20 inches in a single day; New Jersey, 34 inches—still a record.

The Great Storm of 1975
January 9 – 12, 1975
Central and Southeast US

This storm system resulted in snow in the midwest and 45 tornadoes in the southeast, together killing a total of 70 people. It began in the Pacific, crossed the Rockies, and then collided with an arctic air front and tropical moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. It produced record low barometric pressures in the midwestern United States.

Strangely, while the storm produced huge amounts of snow in the upper midwest, it also produced record high temperatures. More than a foot of snow fell from Nebraska to Minnesota, while sustained winds of 30 – 50 mph produced 20 foot snowdrifts. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Indianapols and Indiana, record high temperatures were set.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:49:36.

The Deadliest US Tornadoes

The Deadliest US Tornado Outbreaks
The Top Ten Most Deadly Tornadoes In US History

Note: The 2011 Tornado Outbreak has been confirmed as of this writing (4/29/2011) to have killed 319, making it the highest death toll since 1932, when 322 were killed in Alabama. An April 1974 outbreak killed 325 people in 11 states. These however, are from multiple storms.The deadliest tornado remains the March 18, 1925 twister which killed 695 people on its 219 mile path of destruction. A total of 747 people were killed in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana when all tornadoes in that storm are accounted for.

What follows is a list of the deadliest single twisters.

The Tri State Tornado
Missouri, Illinois and Indiana
March 18, 1925
Death Toll: 625

The worst tornado in US history began in southeastern Missouri, crossed through southern Illinois, and then turned into southwestern Indiana. The 625 deaths more than doubled the second deadliest tornado in US history. More than 2,000 were injured. Property damage was assessed at $16.5 million, which would be $1.7 billion in today’s dollars. The tornado left a 219 mile track, which is the longest ever recorded. It rated an F5 on the Fujita scale.

The Great Natchez Tornado
Natchez, Mississippi
May 7, 1840
Death Toll: 317

Forming southwest of Natchez, the tornado moved north along the Mississippi River. When it struck Natchez, it destroyed dozens of buildings, killing at least 48. Another 269 were killed as the tornado destroyed numerous flatboats on the river. The actual number of casualties, however, may have been much higher, because in pre-Civil War Mississippi, slave deaths would not necessarily have been recorded.

The St. Louis – East St. Louis Tornado
St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois
May 27, 1896
Death Toll: 255

One of the few tornados to strike a major city, this tornado touched down in St. Louis, leaving a mile-wide path of destruction through homes and commercial buildings. It then crossed the Mississippi River and blew through East. St. Louis, Illinois. The official death toll is 255, but some have estimated that the death toll may be as high as 400, since it is impossible to know how many died in boats on the Mississippi River. When adjusted for inflation, the tornado would be the costliest in US history, with an estimated price tag of $2.9 billion.

The Tupelo Tornado
Tupelo, Mississippi
April 5, 1936
Death Toll: 233

Part of a storm system that also spawned the deadly Gainsville tornado, the Tupelo storm cut its way through the residential areas of Tupelo, Mississippi. One noted survivor was one-year-old Elvis Presley.

The Gainsville Tornado
Gainesville, Georgia
April 6, 1936
Death Toll: 203

Following the Tupelo storm of the previous night (see number 4 above), the Gainsville Tornado destroyed several major buildings in Gainsville, Georgia, including 70 at the Cooper Pants Factory.

Glazier-Higgins-Woodward Tornadoes
Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas
April 9, 1947
Death Toll: 181

This tornado—or perhaps series of tornados—is named after the three towns that suffered the greatest percentage of casualties. Seventeen were killed in Glazier, Kansas, 51 in Higgins Texas, and 107 in Woodward, Oklahoma. The tornado is thoguht to have been as much as two miles wide. More than 100 city blocks were destroyed in Woodward. In addition the the 181 killed, another 970 were injured.

Amite-Pine-Purvis Tornadoes
Louisiana, Mississippi
April 24, 1908
Death Toll: 143

Leaving only seven houses intact in Purvis, Mississippi, the storm killed 143 and injured 770.

Joplin, Missouri Tornado
Joplin, Missouri
May 23, 2011
Death Toll: 117

New Richmond Tornado
June 12, 1899
Death Toll: 117

Strong enough to blow a 3,000 pound safe a block away, the storm began as a waterspout on lake St. Croix.

Flint Tornado
June 8, 1953
Death Toll: 115

Beginning just north of Flushing, this tornado destroyed the north side of Flint before breakign up near Lapeer. It travelled 46 miles in an hour and a half. The same storm system spawned a tornado in Worcester, Massachusetts a day later.

Waco Tornado
May 11, 1953
Death Toll: 114

The deadliest twister to ever hit Texas, the Waco storm damaged 600 businesses, 850 homes and 2,000 cars.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:28:42.

Interesting Hurricane Facts

Interesting Hurricane Facts

  • Typhoon Tip (1979) also was the most intense storm on record, with a recorded minimum pressure of 870 millibars.
  • The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 was the first recorded to hit New England.
  • It’s a myth that hurricanes have been increasing in intensity in recent years.The five seasons with the most Atlantic storms and hurricanes were: 2005, with 22 tropical storms and 12 hurricanes (at most recent count); 1931 (21 storms, 10 hurricanes); 1995 (19 storms, 11 hurricanes); 1969 (18 storms, 12 hurricanes); and 1936 (16 storms, 15 hurricanes). Note that 3 of the 5 worst occurred in 1969 or before.
  • A major hurricane is a Category 3 or higher.
  • Retired Hurricane Names (organized by date of the hurricane, earliest first): Carol, Edna, Hazel, Connie, Diane, Ione, Janet, Audrey, Gracie, Donna, Carla, Hattie, Flora, Cleo, Dora, Hilda, Betsey, Inez, Beulah, Camille, Celia, Agnes, Carmen, Fifi, Eloise, Anita, David, Frederic, Allen, Alicia, Elena, Gloria, Gilbert, Joan, Hugo, diana, Klaus, Bob, Andrew, Luis, Marilyn, Opal, Roxanne, Cesar, Fran, Hortense, Georges, Mitch, Floyd, Lenny, Keith, Allison, Iris, Michelle, Isidore, Lili, Fabian, Isabel, Juan, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne.
  • The deadliest Atlantic Hurricane was Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America, killing 18,000
  • The Newfoundland Hurricane of 1775 was the first recorded to hit Canada. It killed 4,000. It also is known as the Independence Hurricane.
  • The Perfect Storm of 1991, made famous by the book and movie was created out of the remnants of Hurricane Grace
  • The 1899 Bathhurst Bay Hurricane in the South Pacific caused a storm surge of 42 feet, the highest ever recorded.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 02:06:04.

The Ten Deadliest Hurricanes World Wide

The Ten Worst Hurricanes Worldwide

The Deadliest Worldwide Hurricanes
The Ten Worst Cyclones

November 13, 1970
East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
500,000 – 1,000,00
The deadliest hurricane on record struck East Pakistan, flooding the low lying areas. At least 500,000 deaths are blamed on the storm, with some estimates rising as high as 1 million. The storm also had historical consequences: the apparent indifference of Muslim West Pakistan to the plight of the East Pakistanis has been blamed in part for the eventual separation of East Pakistan, which now is Bangladesh.

October 7, 1737
Bengal, India
This hurricane killed at least 300,000.

Haiphong, Vietnam
The Haiphong Hurricane killed approximately 300,000

Bengal, India
200,000 casualties.

May 3, 2008
Burma (Myannmar)
138, 366
The true count from Cyclone Nargis may never be known.

June 6, 1882
Bombay, India
At least 100,000

October 5, 1864
Calcutta, India
50,000 to 70,000

June, 1965
East Pakistan
35,000 to 40,000

October 16, 1942
Bengal, India

May 28 – 29, 196
East Pakistan

October 10 – 12, 1780
The Caribbean
This is another hurricane with historical consequences. The worst hurricane in Atlantic history, it killed more than 20,000 when it slammed into Martinique and the Barbados. It also severely damaged a British fleet in the area, shifting the balance of power to the French. This ultimately led to the defeat of the British fleet in the Battle of the Chesapeake and Washington’s victory at Yorktown.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 01:59:36.

The Ten Strongest Hurricanes In US History

The Ten Strongest Hurricanes In United States History

The Ten Worst Hurricanes As Measured By Intensity
The Great Labor Day Storm
September 2, 1935

One of just three Category 5 Hurricanes to make landfall in the US, the Great Labor Day Storm had a minimum pressure of 892 millibars (26.35 inches). It caused 423 deaths in Florida. It also was notable for providing the setting for the Humphrey Bogart – Lauren Bacall movie, Key Largo.

Hurricane Katrina
August, 2005
Louisiana and Mississippi

Katrina had a minimum pressure of 904 millibars (26.64 inches), making it the second most intense storm to hit the US, as well as the most costly, and the third dealiest.

Hurricane Camille
August 17 – 22, 1969
Mississippi, SE Louisiana, Virginia

Camille, a Category 5, was the second most intense Hurricane ever to hit the United States, with a minimum pressure of 909 millibars (26.84 inches). The final windspeed will never be known because all measuring devices were destroyed, but it is thought to exceed 200 mph.

Hurricane Andrew
August 24 – 28, 1992
Florida and Louisiana

A Category 4 when it hit Florida, Hurricane Andrew hit Louisiana as a Category 3. At its peak, Andrew had a minimum pressure of 922 millibars (27.23 inches).

Unnamed Hurricane
August 29, 1886
Indianola, Texas

This Category 4 Hurricane turned Indianola into a Ghost Town. Today, the Court House lies 300 feet out in Matagorda Bay. The storm had a recorded minimum pressure of 925 millibars (27.31 inches).

The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane
Florida, Texas
September 10 – 14, 1919

This hurricane struck the Keys as a Category 4, and Texas as a Category 3. At its peak, it had a minimum pressure of 927 millibars (27.37 inches).

San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane
September 16 – 17, 1928

The fourth strongest Hurricane to hit the US mainland caused a lake surge on the inland Lake Okeechobee in Florida that rose as high as nine feet, flooding nearby towns. A Category 4, it had a minimum pressure of 929 millibars (27.43 inches)

Hurricane Donna
September 8 – 13, 1960
Florida to New England

Donna is the only hurricane known to have produce hurricane-force winds in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic states, and New England. At its peak, it had a minimum pressure of 930 milibars (27.46 inches).

Unnamed Storm
September 30, 1915
New Orleans, Louisiana

This unnamed Category 4 Storm reached a minimum pressure of 931 millibars (27.49 inches). It flooded Lake Pontchartrain, causing it to overflow its banks and killing 275 people.

Hurricane Carla
September 11, 1961

A Category 4, Carla had a minimum pressure of 931 millibars (27.49 inches), tying it with the 1915 Louisiana storm.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 01:54:09.

The Ten Costliest US Hurricanes

The Ten Costliest US Hurricanes

The Ten Worst Hurricanes As Measured By Cost
(all figures are in adjusted dollars)

Note that as coastal populations and property building continue to increase, damage figures also will increase. For example, Florida’s population in 1980 was around nine million. In 2017, its population is just over 20 million. Thus, any hurricane that hits will affect twice as many people, and presumably have twice the economic impact (Ceteris paribus). When the legendary 1935 Labor Day Hurricane hit, the state’s population was around one and a half million.

  1. Hurricane Katrina, August 2005. Louisiana
    1. The most destructive hurricane in US History caused an estimated $100 – $200 billion in damage.
  2. Hurricane Harvey, August  – September 2017
    1. The estimated economic impact currently stands at $50 billion
  3. Hurricane Irma, September  2017, Florida
    1. Estimates for damage are at $50 billion.
  4. Hurricane Andrew, August 24 – 28, 1992, Florida and Louisiana
    1. A Category 4 when it hit Florida, Hurricane Andrew hit Louisiana as a Category 3.
    2. Andrew caused an estimated $43.672 billion in damages.
  5. Hurricane Charley, August 13 – 14, 2004, Florida
    1. Although a relatively small hurricane, Charley was very intense, causing $15 billion in damage.
  6. Hurricane Ivan, September 16 – 24, 2004, Southeastern United States
    1. Hurricane Ivan hit Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16, producing more than 100 tornados and flooding across the American southeast.
    2. The remnants of the storm hit the Delmarva Peninsula on the 18th, where it picked up speed, passed back down the coast, became a tropical storm again in the Gulf and then hit Louisiana as a tropical depression. Ivan left $14.2 billion in damage in its wake.
  7. Hurricane Hugo, September 22, 1989, Charleston, South Carolina
    1. A Category 4, Hurricane Hugo caused $12.25 billion in damages.
  8. Hurricane Agnes, June 19 – 25, 1972, South and North Eastern United States
    1. Although a Category 1, and at other times not even a hurricane at all, Agnes carved an $11.2 billion path of destruction from the Florida Panhandle to New York, New York. Most of the damage came from heavy rains.
  9. Hurricane Betsy, September 7 – 9, 1965, Southeast Florida, Southeast Louisiana
    1. Falling just short of being classified as a Category 5, Betsy struck the Florida Keys on the 7th, and New Orleans on the 9th.
    2. Flooding from the storm breached the levees in New Orleans, leaving the city flooded for ten days.
    3. Betsy is also called “Billion Dollar Betsy” because it was the first to cause a billion dollars in damage. In today’s dollars, the total would be $10.79 billion.
  10. Hurricane Frances, September 5, 2004, Florida
    1. Frances was a Category 2 that caused $8.9 billion in damage.
  11. Hurricane Camille, August 17 – 22, 1969, Mississippi, SE Louisiana, Virginia
    1. Camille, a Category 5, was the second most intense Hurricane ever to hit the United States.
    2. The final windspeed will never be known because all measuring devices were destroyed. Storm tides, winds, and flash flooding caused by the storm in West Virginia and Virginia caused $8.8 billion in damages.
  12. Hurricane Diane, August 17 – 19, 1955, Northeast coast from Virginia to New York
    1. Diane, along with her sister storm, Connie, which hit the same areas just five days earlier, caused $6.9 billion in damage.
    2. Most of the damage was caused by flooding.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 01:52:38.

The Ten Deadliest US Hurricanes

The Ten Deadliest US Hurricanes

The Worst Hurricanes In Terms of Loss of Life In the United States
The Great Galveston Hurricane
Galveston, Texas
September 8, 1900

This unnamed hurricane caused the greatest loss of life of any Hurricane in recorded US history. First tracked in Cuba as a tropical storm on Sept. 3, it hit Galveston as a Category 4 Hurricane. An estimated 6,000 – 12,000 people died as storm tides of eight to 15 feet washed over the barrier island. The tragedy was documented in the recent book, Isaac’s Storm.

San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane
September 16 – 17, 1928

The fourth strongest Hurricane to hit the US mainland caused the second highest number of casualties. A lake surge on the inland Lake Okeechobee in Florida rose as high as nine feet, flooding nearby towns. A total of 1,836 people died in Florida; another 312 died in Puerto RIco, and 18 in the Bahamas.

Hurricane Katrina
Louisiana, Mississippi
August 25 – 29, 2005

Making landfall as a Category 4, Hurricane Katrina caused immense flooding in New Orleans. More than 800 deaths currently are being blamed on Katrina.

The Long Island Express
North Carolina to New York
September 20 – 22, 1938

The Long Island Express roared past North Carolina on September 20, and hit Long Island on September 22 as a Category 3. Storm surges of 12 – 16 feet killed at least 600.

The Great Labor Day Storm
September 2, 1935

One of just three Category 5 Hurricanes to make landfall in the US, the Great Labor Day Storm was responsible for 423 deaths in Florida. Most of those occurred when a train carrying World War I veterans was overturned. The Hurricane also was notable for providing the setting for the Humphrey Bogart – Lauren Bacall movie, Key Largo.

Hurricane Audrey
Texas and Louisiana
June 26, 1957

Audrey was a Category 4 that caused eight to 12 foot storm surges that moved inland as far as 25 miles through low-lying areas of Louisiana. The storm is blamed for 390 deaths.

The Great Miami Hurricane
September 18, 1926

The Great Miami Hurricane struck Miami directly with little warning. The town of Moore Haven on the south side of Lake Okeechobee was completely flooded by lake surge from the hurricane. Hundreds of people in Moore Haven alone were killed by this surge, which left behind floodwaters in the town for weeks afterward. The Red Cross lists the death toll at 373, although the total may be higher because much of the population at the time was either new, or transient, with no one to account for them.

The Grand Isle Hurricane
September 20, 1909

This Category 4 storm struck the mainland between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It is blamed for at least 350 deaths.

The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane
Florida, Texas
September 10 – 14, 1919

This hurricane struck the Keys as a Category 4, and Texas as a Category 3. US mainland losses are recorded as 287, but more than 500 more people apparently were lost at sea as the storm destroyed ten ships.

Unnamed Storm
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 30, 1915

In a frightening precursor to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, this unnamed Category 4 Storm flooded Lake Pontchartrain, causing it to overflow its banks and killing 275 people.

Unnamed Storm
Galveston, Texas
August 5, 1915

In spite of a seawall built following the devastating 1900 storm, this Category 4 hurricane once again devastated the city of Galveston, Texas. It killed 275.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 01:50:53.

Coldest and Warmest Days In the United States

Coldest and Warmest Days In the United States

As large as it is, the United States has been subject to an incredibly wide range of temperatures. Read on to discover the Coldest Temperatures recorded in United States History, the Coldest Day in Continental United States History, and the Warmest Day recorded in the United States.

Coldest Day In US History: -80 Degrees F. Its no surprise that the coldest temperatures recorded in US history were logged in Alaska. The record came on January 23, 1971, at Prospect Creek. It’s along the oil pipeline.

Coldest Day in Continental US History: -70 F. This was recorded January 20, 1954 at a mining camp in Montana called Rogers Pass.

Warmest Days in US History: 134 F. Recorded at the Greenland Ranch in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. For a time, this also was the warmest recorded temperature in World History. It was surpassed less than ten years later, however, when a temperature of 136 was recorded in the Sahara Desert at Al Azizia, Libya, on Sept. 13, 1922.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 03:12:49.

Widest US Tornados

On Friday, May 31, 2013, an EF5 tornado near El Reno, Oklahoma was 2.6 miles wide. That is the widest ever recorded, and was more than twice the size of the storm which hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013.

The old record width for a tornado was the 2.5 mile wide F-4 tornado at Wilber-Hallam, Neb., on May 22, 2004.

The El Reno storm was on the ground for 16.2 miles.

Sixty EF5 tornadoes have been recorded since the system was established in 1950.

Originally posted 2015-01-05 01:45:03.